When I first started writing this blog, it didn't have much of a purpose other than to get the things trapped inside my head some oxygen. It literally began because "It seemed like a good idea at the time." However, over the past half-decade or so, an embryonic glimmer of a purpose has begun to unfold. I've found that I often write to try to give space to the things many of us may feel, but may feel are not "appropriate," not "shiny," or just not "what we are supposed to feel." As I've wandered down this path toward my own more real self, I find that I want to make that journey a little less shadowy and rocky for others. I have no idea if I'm having any impact. Some days, I get excited if a post gets more than 10 reads. But, I'll keep plugging away, and if some phrase makes a difference somewhere, great. If not, at least the thoughts have taken a breath or two.
Along those lines, I'm pleased to present a guest post by a dear friend, Eden Myers. Eden and I were talking yesterday about Mother's Day and about our conflicted feelings around this and similar holidays. And, underneath it all, we both suspect we aren't alone. So here is Eden's post on Mother's Day...
Now that Mother's Day is over, and safely behind us one more year, I want to take the opportunity to say something.
Keep it to yourself. Leave me out of it.
This is not to take anything away from those who appreciate it, and see it as an opportunity to express how genuinely blessed they are, either as a mother or by their mother. To quote one woman close to me, "Mother's Day is a time to reflect on how lucky I am to be a mother and how blessed I have been with the children I have."
Some of us just don't feel that way.
There may be a reason. Maybe we aren't mothers; maybe it just never happened for us. Maybe for lack of trying, or lack of interest. Maybe, bitterly, despite a great deal of time and money spent trying. Maybe we quit trying after we lost heart along with pregnancy after pregnancy. Maybe we just lost interest along the way.
Or maybe some of us are mothers, and we still feel like outsiders. The experience didn't go for us the way it did for everyone else. We lost our mothers, or our children. Or we had bad mothers and cry to ourselves alone with fear that we will do the same to our children.
A friend recently said of holidays in general,
" I generally don't like holidays, as most of them simply end up being a great place for me to feel like a defective outsider. I hate all the expectations... I hate how it becomes a form of culturally enforced minimization and denial of the aspects of our experience that don't fit the bright, shiny, celebratory model.... I hate how all this creates a spiral that just makes it worse and worse each year for anyone who has negative experiences or relationships which tie into the holidays."
And here's what'll really feel like a left turn to most people reading this: Some of us haven't got any particular reason for feeling separate from this particular holiday. I have a perfectly good family. A perfect one, no, but I have them and they- they don't really have me. I never felt like I belonged, even in my own family, even though I love them and they love me. So this day is not the celebration for me it is for everyone else. I am not sure this makes me defective. DIfferent, certainly. But defective? I'm just at a different place on the bell curve. It's the way it's supposed to be for me.
And I think that's true for a lot of women out there. We're just at a different place along the bell curve; we fit into one of the categories above, or some other one that makes us feel like saying,
Keep it. It's just not for me.
And keep this. Pull it out and read it early every May, and keep it in mind as you go about your celebrations. Thanks for understanding. Or at least not making a big deal out of it if you don't.